By Tim Hunt
Reversing course on TuesdayUploaded: Jan 15, 2015
Tuesday was a time of reconsideration.
In the morning, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors formally rescinded the 33 percent pay raise they had given themselves in December.
The San Ramon Valley's representative, Candace Anderson of Danville, was the only No vote initially. After a referendum campaign driven by the county's employee union gathered way more than the number of signatures necessary to put the matter to a public vote, the supervisors unanimously reversed their earlier action. The fair gripe from employees is that they had sacrificed significantly when country revenues had cratered during the recession and now supervisors were taking care of themselves and doing little for employee groups.
The optics were miserable.
The huge raise was structured to tie the supervisors' compensation to 70 percent of what superior court judges make and thus remove it from their political debate. That's what Alameda County supervisors have enjoyed for years. The supervisors will continue to be paid $97,500 instead of the $129,200 had the raise taken effectway below the $148,000 for Alameda County supervisors.
The supervisors ate humble pie, while Pleasanton school trustees circled back to the beginning after unanimously voting to drop the new school calendar for next year. It had been approved twice, but Mark Miller was elected trustee after making the calendar a key part of his campaign. All five trustees voted to reverse the decision, including Chris Grant and Joan Laursen who had steadfastly supported it.
The trustees promised a better process with more outreach. The reality is that the prior "conversation" had lots of outreach and surveysfolks who are now concerned did not take part.
Changing the calendarcontrary to the nay-sayersmakes sense. We no longer harvest fields in Pleasanton and the difference between 10 and nine weeks of summer vacation is trivial. If the proposal was for true year-round school and six weeks off in the summer, that's a conversation worth having.
January looks absolutely ugly for rainfall after a wonderful December. There has been no measurable rainfall in San Francisco (where the records go back the longest) since Christmas Eve. To date, there's been nothing in January as KTVU meteorologist Steve Paulson pointed out this week.
It's the third really dry January in a rowwhich is awful given that it's normally the rainiest month of our season. San Francisco rainfall in January 2013 was 0.49, while it was 0.06 last year. This year, unless clouds shift much more south than anticipated, this week's storm will again go north.
We're looking at zero for Januarythe worst in recorded history after two miserable years. A recent update by Tom DiLiberto of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that 98 percent of the state is still in drought and 32 percent is in "exceptional drought."
Pray for a better February which some of the longer term forecasts show has the potential for significant rainfall.